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Sarah Schleper: Two Nations, Indivisible, with Skiing and Love for All

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Susqu chapter.

Sarah Schleper is an American-born Olympic athlete. Schleper competed in four winter Olympics from 1998-2010 for the United States team. She retired in 2011, and made her debut on the team for Mexico, during these 2018 Olympics at Pyeongchang at the Yongpyong Alpine Centre. The 38 year-old competed on Thursday, February 15, 2018 and came in at 39th place in the Women’s Giant Slalom.

Sarah Schleper in her Day of the Dead ski suit. Photo and caption provided from Mexiconewsdaily.com

Schleper attempted to compete in the 2014 games at Sochi but failed to do so because of complications with paperwork. After obtaining her Mexican citizenship, Schleper competed in the world championships in 2015 and 2017 in order to qualify for the Mexican Olympic team.

Hold on – pause. If she’s American-born, how can she compete for the Mexican team? That answer is simple – Schleper became a citizen of Mexico. She is married to a Mexican citizen, Federico Gaxiola de la Lama, and through this marriage, she was able to gain her citizenship. This fact made me rethink what it means to be Mexican. What does it mean to be able to identify with a nationality? Is it simply possessing a status of citizenship or is it much deeper than that?

Schleper said during an interview with Reuters:

”I’ve been married to my (Mexican) husband for 10 years so I feel legitimately Mexican. I speak Spanish, my kids are Mexican. There’s not as much depth in the Mexican team but it’s a team full of passion, and love, and we just love the sport, and love to be here to represent this beautiful country that I‘m now part of.”


At first, Schleper’s word can be taken out of context. But, without a doubt, Sarah Schleper is a Mexican citizen – therefore a Mexican by right; however, there is also a sweet and familiar tone to her words. Her family, not only her husband and children, but also the family she found within her Olympic team, all share a common bond of love for each other and the sport. Love has united these people together under one nation and that is truly a beautiful way to understand how nations are meant to be – united through love. ♥ 


A current Art History Major, Andrea hopes to work in many museums around the world. She is from Reading Pennsylvania. Andrea's favorite things consist of spending time with her family, watching anime, and you can ususally find her singing and/or dancing to Selena, Maluma, Romeo Santos, Paramore, Taylor Swift, Rihanna, Hamilton, Japanese Music - the list goes on. Andrea started writing for HerCampus her second semester of her first year at Susquehanna University by way of her friend, Morgan Catherman, another fellow HerCampus writer.